Kia Stonic First Edition

If you look around car showrooms you’ll discover some bizarre names adorning today’s automobiles. Cactus is one, Kona another as well as Mokka and Twizy. Now there’s Stonic.

It’s the Stonic you’ll be seeing in numbers on our roads having attracted customers wanting a small car that has been transformed into a compact SUV. It’s also the latest model to be rolled out by Kia whose products have invaded the markets which traditionally have been the preserve of what is often accepted as being the ‘top end’ marques. May be this is because Kia has persuaded designers from two leading German brands to join its ranks.

Built upon the platform of the new generation Kia Rio supermini which was introduced around a year ago, there’s little minimalism about the Stonic. It shares the Rio’s excellent interior layout, added to which there’s a feeling of quality that’s sometimes absent in this category of car. Its direct rivals in a growing and already crowded market are Citroën’s C3 Aircross as reviewed last month, Renault Captur, SEAT’s all-new Arona and Kia’s sister company Hyundai’s

recently introduced Kona.

Though it’s classed as an SUV the Stonic INFO@THECOCKERMOUTHPOST.CO.UK

doesn’t have all-wheel drive, nor is it offered as an option, and like its rivals could be considered more as a multi-purpose vehicle. When space matters, the modest footprint Kia feels roomy and can accommodate four adults with ease, but the boot is adequate rather than being capacious.

On test is the top-of-the-range First Edition model which has so much equipment it puts many luxury cars to shame. For the truly feel-good factor the heated steering wheel equals the comfort of seat warmers on icy mornings, plus there’s autonomous braking, lane departure warning, a reversing camera and more to include possibly the clearest and easily operated infotainment and navigation system. The instrumentation has


positioned on the steering wheel wins points.

The firmly upholstered seats are positioned low inside the cabin to give a near sports car like driving position. Though hardly yielding in the sense of cars like the Citroën, the seats provide sufficient support for long distance travel. The suspension, too, is firm, and unless one is driving on smooth roads, the surface imperfections become invasive.

By far the best performing engine in the Stonic range is the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol. As well as feeling perky it delivers on acceleration and is credibly economical, the 45mpg fuel consumption over some 500 miles being not far off Kia’s claimed 56.5mpg. There’s a 1.4-litre petrol which feels sluggish compared to the three- pot, and a 1.6-litre diesel, all mated to a smooth six-speed manual gearbox. Exceptional handling assists in placing the Stonic ahead of its rivals. Connectivity with the road, precise steering and tenacious grip all add up to the Kia’s agility in sorting bends in fine style.

There’s a lot to like about the Stonic, its 7-year warranty helping it stand out from the opposition.

Kia Stonic First Edition Interior PHOTO © M.BOBBITT

clarity and is sensibly configured, plus having both speed limiting and cruise controls

Malcolm Bobbitt

ISSUE 422 | 25 JANUARY 2018 | 40

Test car supplied by Kia Motors (UK) Ltd. Stonic range starts at £16, 295, Car as tested £19,695.

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